As we point out in our top 15 Tips for Video SEO, inbound links (backlinks) to your videos are important for optimization within Google universal SERPS. This post will give you some ideas and tips as to how to develop backlinks to your videos. For the most part, these techniques can be used to develop backlinks to any site. Most of the techniques that work for linking strategy in general will work well for video search optimization as well.
You have your videos online and all ready to go and so y sou wait, and wait…and wait. You check your search engine rankings and find they're not as high as you would like and so you decide you want to raise them. Backlinks are one way to do just that. By getting links to your site and your videos search engines will see the links and add them into your total score.
Google for instance takes a look at the page rank of the site that is linking to you to determine how important that link is, the higher their page rank, the more important the link. But how do you go about getting those backlinks?
Before we get started, it is important to mention several things. First off, we focus on white-hat and gray-hat SEO and do not want to encourage spamming with regard to link strategy. With that in mind, make sure that you link directly to your video page and be careful in over submitting and developing links to fast. Google will consider this to be unnatural and you may get penalized. Finally, try to get links from relevant website and webpages. If you are linking to a video about "how to play guitar," it would be best to link to your video from other guitar and music related webpages.
Here are some of the ways to get those all important backlinks:
Make announcements about your videos.
These are a great way to get others to backlink to you. By putting out a small press release or emailing bloggers that might be interested in the video you're sure to get some that will link back to the video. Online forums are another place where you can spread the word. Drop a quick announcement in the appropriate places with a link back to the video off of a relevant keyword and you should generate some interest, traffic and hopefully further backlinks.
Press releases are a great way to alert others to new content available on your site if the content in question is big enough to warrant it. There are many places that allow free distribution of press releases like PRLeap, 1888PressReleases, 24-7PressRelease, and ClickPress. Be sure to include a link to the content in the press release as some bloggers and reporters will simply lift the press release and repost it somewhere else. Some of the sites will require a small fee for working links in the press releases and usually it's worth the cost. Some of these do not always turn into excellent backlinks themselves but when others pick up the releases and repost you will see some real benefit.
Do some legwork
Sometimes the only way to get something done is to do it yourself. That means submitting your link to online directories, social bookmarking websites (I like to use onlywire.com), etc… Whether you do it by hand of find a piece of software that will help, this is a crucial step in getting backlinks. There are both free and paid directories you can submit to. Since they all have some amount of page rank they will be links that are worth something and since the directories have a good amount of traffic you should get some of it as well.
If you have several blogs or sites yourself be sure to interconnect them with backlinks and blurbs about what is happening on each one when possible. Especially if some of your sites are well-established. That means by now they probably have a higher page rank and so will be better links. So be sure to tie all your own sites together in one way or another. Again, for white-hat SEO, try to limit this to a few websites. You should not do this with more than a few websites.
Forums and blogs are great, but other sites that pertain specifically to the content of the video are even better. Generally these types of sites will have a higher page rank and will provide you with 'heavier' backlinks. The easiest way to get them is to email the webmaster of the site and introduce yourself, your site and your video content. Then ask if they would be willing to perhaps post about your video or a part of your article with a 'Read more' link that leads to your site.
Link exchanges and reciprocal linking has had some bad press in the past so be sure to be selective of the sites you exchange links with make sure they have an equal or higher page rank than your page so that the links are weighed well. Also make sure that the site you are considering linking with is somehow relevant to your content.
Speaking of networking, by now I'm sure you've heard of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, etc. Well these are also places that you should link to your content from, whether from a profile for yourself, your company or on someone else's it's a way to get a backlink and possibly some traffic at the same time. Of course nowadays these are probably not very heavy backlinks any longer but will still count for something.
Give Something Away to Get Something Back
Many places tell you to give something away or have something useful for the users. That's actually a pretty good idea. If you already have a video about something you can probably turn it into an ebook as well. You can then take that ebook and offer it for free download from your site. If the information in the ebook is good it will generate some backlinks and traffic. Of course this is another way that requires you to do some work and then let others know about the ebook being available but the payout is well worth the work in the end if done properly
Talk About What You've Got
If you allow for discussions and comments on your videos it can sometimes cause a very interesting discussion that will get picked up by other sites. Allowing others to comment on your videos and content is a great way to generate interest, interest spreads and turns into others linking to your site.
Social bookmarking sites are also a good place for backlinks. If you have good content be sure to submit it to places like Digg, Technorati, Delicious, etc. These are places that can generate a lot of traffic and sometimes a good heavy backlink as well. Other places like StumbleUpon.com will let you submit your site for links as well.
There are other ways to create backlinks yourself but which are usually frowned upon and less useful. You could always include a link in your forum signature to any place you post. You could also leave comments on other blogs and sites and drop a link into each one of these. They will probably be counted as less important in the search engines and you might annoy some people if your links are irrelevant to the places you post so use sparingly, if at all.
Here is a great video from Aaron Wall at SEO book about link building in general. Most linking strategies that work for SEO will work for Video SEO.
No matter how you go about it you need to be sure you don't get tagged as a spammer because then many of your links will be useless and ignored by the search engines. This is especially true if you are posting links to message areas, forums or in comments. You need to make sure that your link and content are relevant to the site or page in question that you put the link on.
Finally you will want to check those backlinks from time to time and see how they are, if they are still there and if they are worth anything.
All of these tools are totally free and will give you an idea of how many links you have, what they are worth and where they are from. Alternatively, Yahoo site-explorer is a great place to check for backlinks as well.